I’ve Been Waiting For You

life-is-what-you

Life Is What You Make It

I know you’ve heard it.  We’ve all heard it.

I had heard it fifty gazillion times.  I had read The Secret, I had read the scriptures about the power of the tongue.  I knew about speaking things that weren’t as if they were.  I was (still am) a quote junkie.  I had quotes taped all over our house.

Yet, even with all that knowledge floating around, even with inspirational quote overdose… for years my life remained a collection of trials, pain, suffering and lack.

I was barely keeping my head above water.

Until one day I couldn’t.  I just couldn’t tread water anymore….

drowning

I began to sink.  I sank and sank.  Deeper and deeper.

I felt like I was living in a hole.  My life consisted of going to work, then coming home to sleep. That was it.  That was my life.  I occasionally returned a text or call from a close friend, just so they wouldn’t send out a search party.  Other than that, I was a hermit.  I didn’t leave the house.  That would take too much energy.  On the rare occasion that I did find the energy, my anxiety was too fierce to allow me to leave the safety of my hermit shell.  I became so sad. And tired. I quit going to the gym.  My yoga mat, stored carefully in the corner of my bedroom, grew dusty from disuse.  I stopped drawing, I stopped journaling, I stopped painting.

I stopped living.

Life was passing me by.  With each day spent in my self-imposed prison, I grew more desperate.  I cried.  A lot.  I sat in the dark in my closet, one of the only places I could silence the anxiety.  I slept.  And slept.  Although no amount of rest or sleep was enough to combat my lack of energy.

I began to have scary thoughts.  Thoughts that said if this was all that life had to offer, I wasn’t sure I wanted it.  Thoughts that told me to just accept the fact that I was going to ride these repeated ups and downs forever.  I was worried about finances, I was worried about what I thought my career should look like, I was worried and guilted constantly by all my many failures.

Since checking out was just not an option (I have a basketball team of kids to think about!), checking into the nearest mental health facility seemed to be where I was headed.  I was at my breaking point.  I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I couldn’t stand my own self.

I am thankful that I had that though because, if I can’t stand myself…who is “I”?  This question would be posed (and answered) in a book I happened upon…

Perspective Shift

One day while mindlessly scrolling through the internet I discovered a video of Eckhart Tolle.  I can’t even tell you where I found it, or what he was saying, but I was intrigued.  Of course, Google was the first place I headed.  I read a tiny blurb about this book that Eckhart Tolle had written called Power of Now.  Typically, not one to make impulse buys, I did just that.  I ordered the book right then and there.

My life will never be the same.  I cannot tell you what that one little action has done for my life.  Eckhart Tolle led me to realize that I am not my mind.  That I can control my thoughts.  That I don’t have to be held prisoner.  That I can be free, that I can be awake.

Do I think that one book has all the answers?  No.  Do I think I have it all figured out now? No.

I am still working on me…I am nowhere near where I should be, where I want to be…I do NOT have it all figured out.

But for the first time in my life I am finally seeing the power of positivity first hand.  The change that comes when focus goes from the bad to the good.  The awesomeness that happens when I choose to be the watcher of my thoughts and emotions.

Since this tiny revelation, of being the “watcher”, BIG changes are happening.  EXCITING changes.  POSITIVE changes.  The grass seems greener, the sky bluer…I am able to let more just roll right off my back.  I am better able to just accept what is.  To lean into the discomfort and just breathe (sound familiar yogis?).

Big Dreams

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I worried that I would never find a way to be a mom, and a nurse, a student and still work on pursuing my passion (building my own company).  I didn’t know if that was even possible.  Was I being unrealistic?

As I began to shift my perspective.  I realized that everything was going to work out.  I realized that my dreams are big, but could be even bigger.  There are no limits on life except the ones we give ourselves!  I realized that I was going to take charge of my life.  I want to be limitless!  I decided I would take steps every day to get me closer to my goals.

One way or the other, I was going to keep pressing forward.  Being positive, being relentless in my pursuit of my purpose, watching my thoughts and emotions.

It’s Happening

Guess what guys?  It’s happening!!!! Positive vibes are coming at me from everywhere!  In fact, an opportunity landed in my lap just today that will bring much needed balance.   An opportunity that will allow me to continue my career, my education and pursue my passion.  In fact, I am sitting here, smiling like an idiot, in shock about it to be honest.

I cannot WAIT to receive more awesomeness into my life this year!!!!!!

The more I refuse to dwell on the negative, the more positive influences I welcome to my life, the more I am amazed!

My life has ALREADY changed in ways I never thought possible.  Doors are opening everywhere!

It’s like the Universe is saying, “I’ve been waiting for you”.  

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I Will Be A Failure

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“The single best thing you can do is EMBRACE FAILURE. Fail fast and hard and move on! You learn 10 times more from failure than from success.”

-Corey Townsend

This is the scariest, yet most freeing advice I have ever gotten.

First Step Is Admitting, Right?

Hello, my name is Kristal, and I am afraid of failure.

I shared my fitness journey and how I spent A LOT of time hiding in the corner of the gym, on the treadmill.  I had NO clue what I was doing, and I WAS AFRAID.  Afraid that if I lifted a weight I wouldn’t do it right.  Afraid I would look like an idiot.  I KNEW that I could never be comfortable in a gym.  All those skinny girls in spandex with perky booties, all those muscled-up men, all those health nuts.  They were intimidating!

I was AFRAID.  Afraid to try, afraid to fail.

It took someone holding my hand through the process, cheering me on, showing me that those “intimidating” people at the gym could care less if I looked like an idiot.  Showing me that even if they did care, it didn’t matter.  Showing me that this was about MY life, about making ME healthy.

Fast forward…. I now feel more at home in the gym than most other places.  It’s my retreat.  My therapy. My happy place.  I didn’t fail!  I worked hard, I listened, I read…I made it work for me!!  I took charge of my health.  I took charge of my body.

I found success in the health/fitness arena.  What I didn’t do was conquer my fear of failure.

Debilitated By Fear

My entire life I have dreamed of becoming a writer.  I have dreamed of owning my own business.  I have dreamed of traveling the world.  I have dreamed of making an impact by doing something that I am PASSIONATE about.

I am a chronic dreamer.  I have SO many ideas ALL the time.  What I lack is follow through.

Why is that?

Why have I not written the 101 novels that I have ideas for?  Why have I not written the 99 children’s books that I’ve dreamed up?  Why have I not started 3 companies?  Why have I not traveled?

I’ve been too afraid.

Afraid that this small-town girl who grew up in poor, rural, South Carolina would never have what it takes.  Afraid I was not “good enough” to be successful.  Afraid I was kidding myself with my crazy ideas and dreams.

I spent my life thinking that if I could just “get by” (have a steady job, a family, a decent car, a house instead of a trailer, some semblance of peace, etc.) that would be my life. That would mean I had “arrived”.

That was a lie.  A lie that I told myself.  A lie that I believed.  A lie that grew and grew until it became debilitating. I lie that I began to identify with. For years, I have let this lie destroy my life.

I have made many HUGE mistakes in my life.   I’ve felt like a failure as a person.  No matter how many successes I’ve had, no matter how many “good” things I’ve done, I could never view myself as “enough”.

Guess what?  I am realizing now, that I am NOT my past, I am NOT my depression, I am NOT my failures.

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I am WHOEVER and WHATEVER I decide to become.  All I have is NOW.  I can’t change the past.  I can’t change who I am.  What I can change is how I think and where I go from here.

I am determined to change my “stinkin thinkin”.  I am determined to chase my dreams RELENTLESSLY. I am determined to fail.

I realize now, that I am going to have to fail. More than once!  But guess what that means? It means…

I am going to TRY.  I am going to START. 

I am going to face my fears, and kick them in the teeth.

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

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I will never be an author if I don’t WRITE.  I will never be my own boss if I don’t start TAKING ACTION to get me there.  I will never travel if I keep telling myself it’s not a possibility for me.

Guess what?? The hand-holding I needed to get off the corner treadmill….I still need it. We all do.  So I have started working on my circle.  Working on my average.  Working on surrounding myself with people who encourage me to chase my dreams.

I’ve realized that there is NO aspect of my life that should be passive.  I have to take charge of the energies I surround myself with.  I have to take charge of my goals by breaking them down into ACTIONS.  I have to take charge of my writing by…well, WRITING.

I am going to fail (over and over)…..and that is ok.  I will fail fast, and hard.  I will also be just as fast to get up, straighten my crown, and MOVE ON!!!

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Go ahead, get out there! FAIL hard and FAST, then MOVE ON!

Fail your way to greatness! 

Boost Your Mood

I’ve been in a low recently.  Booo hissss.  Good news is, I’m climbing on up!  I’ve done some soul searching, some meditation, lots of reading…you get the picture.  My mind and soul are feeling much better, but I have still been lacking in the body department.  Since my goal is balance in all things, I’ve gotta get my butt in gear!!  Get movin’!

I made this infographic to share some much-needed motivation for myself & anyone else feeling the struggle.

Here’s to hoping this gives someone a little boost!boost

 

breathe, just breathe.

Today there is no silencing the darkness.  Today I am shrouded in a heavy, black cloud.

This cloud slowly sucking life from my body.  A storm cloud, thundering so loudly I am unable to hear anything but its booming.

Booming, booming, booming.  Silencing peace.  Silencing positivity.  Silencing all logic.

 

Physically, I hurt.  More of an ache, really.   Waxing and waning like the tide.  My hands and feet tingle when the anxiety comes.  The weight of my chest increasing 10 times when the feeling is at its worst.

I am tired, so tired (even though I slept from 11am Tuesday until 8am today, Wednesday).  In spite of this excessive sleep, all I want to do is go back to sleep (but even that thought brings anxiety about tomorrow).

I spent the morning drinking coffee as usual, although today, I retreated into the quiet darkness of my closet.

I close the door and quietly cry.  Floods of tears soak my face, no matter how hard I try to hold them back. Even when I gather the strength to leave the safety of my closet, tears continue to escape.

My mind swirls with thoughts and emotion.

Worry. Sadness. Confusion. Anger. Defeat.

Breathe, just breathe I tell myself.

Breathe, just breathe.

mind-swirls

The swirling madness slows. Still, I am unable to make it stop.

I go through the motions.  I put one foot in front of the other.

I should eat, but I can’t.  I should watch a funny movie.  I should meditate.  I should take a walk.  I should exercise.  I should…. I should…I should…

Instead, I remain frozen in my depression.  I disappear into the blackness.  Trapped in my own head.  I feel sorry for myself.  I feel stupid for the illogical thoughts that control my mind.  I feel like a failure at life.  I feel, and feel, and feel. I feel until the only feeling I have is numbness…. then I remember,

Breathe, just breathe.

There are five reasons, I remain.  Five reasons, I keep going.  Five constant reminders to…

Breathe, just breathe.

One day the world may turn its back on them.  One day they may need someone in their corner.  One day they may feel as alone as I have felt.  As long as it is in my power, I will ensure that they are never alone (no matter the twists and turns they face, no matter their choices, no matter what).

I hug the little two, I look at pictures.  I write words the five may never read.  I find comfort in their goodness.  Peace in their innocence.  Hope in their potential.

Breathe, just breathe.

Brent stands by helpless, unable to pull me from the blackness.  He can’t. No one can.  I have to face it alone.  Yes, it helps to have support.  It is nice when someone reminds you they are there.  But ultimately, when the battle is with your mind, you are the one doing the fighting.

You are the one who must continually, tirelessly, each and every day, save yourself.  No one else can.

I know this will pass.  I’ve been here before.  Eventually the sun will shine again.  Light and love always win.

Even in this knowing, today I remain cloaked in my darkness. A familiar feeling.

Today, like many other days, I am my own worst enemy.  My mind and I at constant odds.

Some days I quiet my mind, no problem.  Other days, like today, my mind takes control and there is little peace to be found.

On the tough days I am thankful for my five reasons.  I am thankful for five reminders.

Reminders to breathe, just breathe.

breathe

 

 

Never Alone

I’m rarely alone.  He is always close.  I woke up this morning, to find him lying between my husband and I (I think that Brent is beginning to resent him).  My Depression doesn’t care about Brent’s resentment.   Secretly, I think he likes it.  He loves to separate me from everyone.  My Depression wants me all for himself.

This morning he whispers into my ear, “Stay in bed.”  “Just sleep.”  “We will spend the day together.”

tired

I get up anyway.  I head to the shower and try, with no success, to rinse him down the drain.  Don’t laugh.  Sometimes that works.  Sometimes I can calm my mind.  I can focus on my breathing.  I can drown him in my morning shower.

No such luck this time.  Together we step out of the shower and dry off.  “Let’s have a good cry”, he says. In that very moment, I catch a glimpse of us in the mirror.  I look him in the eye.  No, I will not cry.  I have no reason to cry.  “Since when do you need a reason?”, he sneers.

I realize he is right and, reluctantly, give in.  Big ugly sobs.  Tears flowing freely.  I see us in the mirror again, a terrifying sight.  I cry harder now.

I slowly walk into my closet and close the door.  In the complete darkness of my tiny, safe place I bury my head in my hands and quietly sob.

I cry for what could have been.  I cry for what was.  I cry for what never will be.  I just cry.

I sit in here for what seems like hours, in reality it has only been minutes.  Depression does that to me.  He is known to bring on the physical exhaustion of tireless work, even when my body has been sedentary.

I hear rustling in the bedroom, Brent might be waking.  Time to pull it together.

I slowly open the closet door but remain in my safe place.  With the light now on, I dress for the day.  Depression stops me before I am able to step out.  He drapes himself over me like a cloak.  Only then, does he allow me to leave the closet.

The weight of him exhausts me.  Some days are better than others.  There are days when my Depression weighs 5,000lbs.  There are days when he makes my entire body ache.

Then there are sunny days…

Days when he stays behind.  Days when I am really free to be myself.  Days when I feel hopeful.

I live for those days.  They serve as a reminder that I AM NOT MY DEPRESSION. We’ve been together for such a long time that I sometimes forget. Over the years the lines have become blurry, I cannot tell where my Depression ends and I begin.  On scary occasions, I feel as if I don’t begin at all.

afraid

False alarm, Brent is still sleeping soundly.  With my Depression shrouding me completely, we head downstairs.

Depression and I curl up together on the couch and sip our coffee.  Covered by my favorite blanket, we sit silently.  I normally find peace in silence.  But my Depression taught me that suffering lives in there too.

As I continue to sit in silence, sunlight beams in from the window and hits my, now puffy, face.   My Depression doesn’t like the sun; he doesn’t like for me to connect to Mother Earth at all.  He says it makes him shrink.  He says I don’t need her.  He reminds me of all the years we have held each other close, all the experiences we have had together.

I don’t like these reminders.  I cry again.

I am tired of crying.  Today I want to be me.  I want to live.  Really live, not just go through the motions.

I make up my mind to do this.  I begin to focus on the heat of the sunshine on my face.  I focus on the sounds of nature coming from my own backyard.  I begin to bring awareness to my breath.

Depression gets restless, “Stop this nonsense”, he demands.  He bombards my mind with: to do lists, worries, dust bunnies, regrets and random thoughts.   I allow the thoughts to come.  Then I remember, I am going to live today.  I am going to be me today.  I am in charge, not him.  I let the thoughts float by like clouds in the sky.  I breath in.  I breath out.  I begin to count my breath.  Inhale, 1.  Exhale, 2. Inhale, 3.  Exhale, 4….

I start feeling lighter.  What? Lighter?  My Depression is lifting.

I have lulled the monster to sleep.  I continue with my meditation.  I continue to count my breath.  I continue to let my thoughts come and then pass.  I am not my Depression, I am not my thoughts.  I am me.

When I know he is really sleeping, I lift off what remains stuck to me.  I gently lay him down on the couch and cover him with our favorite blanket.  I stand up slowly, scared I will wake him, and turn to face the rest of my day.

I know he will wake soon and we will be reunited.  For now, I look back at him slumbering on the couch and smile.

Today I will live.  Today I will be me…. even if just for a little while.

Shhhhh…don’t wake the monster.

rumi

 

 

Monkey Mind

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If I don’t have a notebook beside my bed, I may as well just forget about sleep…

I suffer from multiple ailments…

Writer’s Brain.

Dreaming up characters, scenarios, story lines, poems.

Artist’s Brain.

Do I have another piece of furniture to work on?  Where did I put that giant canvas?  Do I still have enough paint?

Anxious Brain.

Let me list 5 gazillion things that I need to get done.   Do we have enough $$? How much is it going to cost to fix that car?  Are the kids really ok?

Depressed Brain.

Poor pitiful me.  Why me?  Nothing ever works out like it should.  My heart aches.

…and this is just my brain at NIGHT!

Monkey Mind

thoughts_by_my_ethos-d99hjdqHeard of “monkey mind”?

“Monkey mind” is a Buddhist term for a mind that is restless; confused; uncertain; irrepressible (a term I use to describe those times I am in desperate need an OFF switch in my brain, which happens to be quite OFTEN).

My monkey mind rarely takes a break, like everything, it’s worse during the night. I try to write down my thoughts and get them out of my head.  No matter the effort, my Monkey mind brings hours of unrest.  Incessant thoughts and sleep deprivation lead me right into the waiting arms of Depression and Anxiety.

When my Monkey mind is in control, chaos ensues.  So…

I have to FLIP THE SWITCH myself.  I have to CHOOSE the calm.  Be present in my NOW.  FEEL my body.  Take heed of my breathing. In short, I have to leash the Monkey.

Let me be transparent, I have NOT been able to TAME the Monkey (striving for progress here folks, far from perfection).  For now, my successes are when I am able to, if even for a short time, slip a leash on the Monkey.  In order to sneak up on the Monkey Mind, slip that leash on and get a little peace, I meditate.

Meditation is the only time that the Monkey is silent.  I started practicing meditation LONG, LONG ago (ok maybe not THAT long ago…I was 22 before I ever gave a second thought to meditation).  My problem then was that I only used meditation as a last resort!  When my brain felt like it was about to explode, when I thought I may need to sit in a padded room for the sake of me and everyone around me, only then would I sit with myself in silence.

Recently I discovered the power that comes with a regular meditation practice.  It is still a struggle for me.  I am working on it…. but that’s all we can do right?  Work on it…

Manifest Your Reality

When I am able to keep my mind still, I am able to quiet the Depression that snarls at my soul.  When my mind is quiet I am able to see that Anxiety is simply manifestation of my fears.  Fears that I have allowed to take root deep in my thoughts.

“The mind is a powerful thing” …I don’t know who said it first, but I know we’ve all heard it a million times.  Why is it so hard to believe that our thoughts can manifest our reality?

I do believe.  I believe that the energy we release into the universe returns to us.  If that is the case, it only makes sense to me that our thoughts (energies) are directly related to our reality.  Wake up thinking you are going to have a crappy day…chances are you will.  Wake up worrying you won’t have the money to cover the bills…. you probably won’t.

Could this be the mumbling of a crazy girl? Maybe.  All I know for certain is that there are times when the Monkey runs wild and as a result I am barely able to function.  I am held captive to the swirling thoughts.  I am swept away in a hurricane of confusion and raw emotion.  I am unable to live in the now.

When the Monkey is in control:

I worry about the future. Regret the past.  Feel hopeless about the present.

When the Monkey is in control:

My mind is clouded.  Sluggish.

Meet My Pals (with friends like these…)

Perhaps it is the incessant thoughts of my Monkey Mind that first introduced my ol’ friend Depression & I.  I’m quite sure that they also opened the door and invited Anxiety to take up residence.

These two have been companions of mine since the age of 18.  There have been times when these two and I were inseparable.  There are also times that they seem to hibernate for months and I won’t hear a peep from them.  So far it’s been a no go on finding ways to shake them completely.  Threes company?!?

Depression and Anxiety are really shitty company to keep!  They are selfish and draining, sneaky and cunning, not to mention physically painful! So many people deal with these issues, yet so many misconceptions remain.

Here are a few words for you well-meaning folk that think anxiety/depression is just an excuse to throw a pity party:  Yes, I know I have SO MUCH to be thankful for!  Yes, I know that the majority of things I worry about will NEVER HAPPEN.  NONE of those things matter when the Monkey is in control…

Put a Leash On It

So I sneak up on the Monkey.  Through meditation, setting my intentions, and maintaining awareness of my thought patterns I am able to slip a leash on my Monkey mind. I choose to run my life instead of letting the Monkey run me.

I sit in silence, breathing in, breathing out. Letting my thoughts flow over me like the tide.  Good thoughts come in, I let them go.  Bad thoughts come in, I let them go.  There is freedom in the letting go.  I am learning to let go of the things that no longer serve me (much easier said than done).  I am growing stronger in my confidence of who I am.  I am learning that I can create the peace I need.

I can control my life, if only I remember to keep the Monkey on a leash.

What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow- Our life is the creation of our mind

Need a little help getting started with your meditation practice?

 Check out my step-by-step guide!!